Two weeks from today the Jones ladies and I will be on our way to Kenya. Moment for dramatic pause… I can hardly believe it. Back in 2003 I went to Kenya and I could only dream of bringing my family with me someday. Seeing the amazing differences of the culture, the stunning geography, the beautiful people and the thrill of seeing wildlife on safari, made me only dream of someday sharing this with my children. Looks like some dreams come true.
Lately I have been pondering what God has in store for us on this trip and I have been reminded of our last family trip to a third world nation. Exactly 4 years ago we went to Indonesia. My girls were 5, 7 and 9. I was confident that my oldest would learn some great things about the poor that would stay with her forever. I was hopeful that my middle daughter would be able to connect with some of the hard realities she would experience. But I was sure that the whole trip would fly right over the head of my youngest. What can you learn when you are 5?
God knew better…
Our big day to visit Isabel’s (my youngest) sponsored child finally arrived and like the great Compassion trip leader I am, I didn’t prepare my family at all. Seriously, for all the times I have prepared people for the things they will encounter in meeting their sponsored child, it didn’t even cross my mind that I might need to coach my family on how to act, what to say, what not to say, how they might feel, etc.
We showed up at Christy’s house (Isabel’s sponsored child) and I immediately realized that Christy was scared to death of all of us. It’s not every day that a crew of tall, white people show up in the slums of Manado, Indonesia to visit . At 6 foot 3, I knew from experience that I needed to sit down quickly so that my height didn’t scare her. In the few seconds it took me to plop my rear end on a bench, my 5 year old, Isabel, figured out what needed to happen. She needed to be Jesus to Christy.
I looked up from my new seated position and Isabel had already sat down next to Christy, put her arm around her and was singing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” to her. For something so simple, it was one of the most beautiful and profound moments of my life. The girl that I was sure wouldn’t get anything out of this trip just showed me that God had gifted her as a minister.
I don’t know the plans that God has for Isabel’s future, but I learned that day that God had given her the ability to see the needs of others and respond to them selflessly. It was such an adorable scene, I just sat and cried. And I heard loud and clear from God, “Don’t assume you know the plans I have for you.” I was so sure Isabel wouldn’t get anything out of this trip. I was so wrong! Not only did God have great lessons for Isabel, but he had HUGE lessons for me THROUGH Isabel.
So, what do I think God has in store for us in Kenya? I have no idea. But I can’t wait to see what He is going to teach me through my girls and what I am going to learn about them. He has some amazing plans for us, and I don’t have a clue what they are.
Life, Family, Faith and Travel...the life of a Jones
Dominican Republic Missions trip
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